WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - The annual Fantasy of Lights has helped bring in the holiday season in Texoma for decades, and this year 41 unique Christmas displays cover the grounds of MSU filling people of all ages with wonder.
MSU student Bailey Burks has been attending Fantasy of Lights since she was 5.
“It's like my favorite part of Christmas every year,” Burks said.
Kristi Madl, a lifelong Burkburnett resident, has passed the tradition of coming to the Fantasy of Lights down to her children.
She said, “They have a ball. They love doing it. They love coming out here, enjoying watching all the lights and the fun.”
Madl’s mother, Barbara Sutherland, used to participate in the annual tradition before it was even put on by MSU.
Lillian Burns started the tradition with her husband, L.T. Burns, in the 1920s.
Back then, they could only afford a single bulb on a Christmas tree on their front porch.
Once L.T. Burns became successful in the oil industry they began adding more decorations.
He died in 1954, but Lillian continued to add to the collection of displays.
Eventually after she had passed, it went to her son who passed after her in 1974.
The displays and lights were in the care of Archer City. The town offered it to Midwestern State University where it has been for 44 years.
This year, along with checking out the lights and displays, kids get the chance to meet Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas.
There are also some new activities to do as well, like throwing snowballs.
MSU student Hannah Mattinson said, “I think it’s definitely been way more interactive. Last year we just came, and you know you can walk around and that’s fun. Now there’s a couple of games over there, and food trucks, and all sorts of stuff.”
For people who have lived in Texoma for a long time like Barbara Sutherland, it is good to see the tradition that started so many years ago, continue.
She said, “…I’ve been doing it forever and it’s a thrill to see the expression on the kid. I think it’s wonderful.”